Weebly Review: We test “free & easy” Weebly
Websites for grown-ups, no technical skills required: that’s Weebly’s promise. We’ve decided to do you a favor and take a closer look.
Weebly’s well-organized interface makes it easy to see at a glance what it has to offer. Like Webnode, it has a series of menus across the top for easy access to its key features. A simple drag and drop is all it takes to add text, images or forms to your Weebly website.
The website doesn’t reveal too much about pricing. So here’s the deal: the basic package is free, but will include a small Weebly ad in your website’s footer.
Their paid plans consists of two tiers: Starter, which is priced at $4 and lets you fully customize your website’s footer to remove the Weebly logo. It also gives you access to their premium support. The Pro plan is $8 per month and includes even more slick features, like site search, header slideshows as well as video and audio players. Business (25$) is the best choice if you want to run an online store with an unlimited amount of products and features like coupon codes. Find our detailed comparison of Weebly’s pricing options here.
Note that you will have to pay extra for your own domain name. However, a .com domain will be a rather steep $39.95 per year (with discounts available for longer terms).
See it in action here
Weebly in detail
|Ease of use||
||This is exactly how a website builder should be. There's no learning curve with Weebly, so you'll have your website up and running in no time.|
|Choice and flexibility of design (templates)||
||They offer a great selection of flexible templates, and if you're a pro you can even access the source code for further customization. A smartphone-friendly website will be generated automatically.|
|Advertisement-free||yes||In the Pro version only. The free version has a small advertising link in the footer.|
||Currently available in English, French, Spanish, German, Italian and Chinese. Support available in English only. No special feature to create multilingual sites. Do not use Weebly for non-English character sets like Russian, Chinese or Arabic as they are not fully supported.|
|Your own domain name (e.g. .com or .net)||yes||You can buy a domain from Weebly, but it works out to be pretty expensive and they only offer .com, .net or .org domains. You can re-direct a domain you've bought elsewhere though.|
|Depth of navigation||
||Unlimited. A drop-down menu is added to your navigation bar automatically.|
|Widgets (small tools to add extra functionality)||
||Photo galleries, video and music players and more. We very much like the Button-Widget that let's you create call-to-action buttons easily.|
|Monetization||yes||Using banner ads for example. Please note: Weebly used to keep 50% of your Google AdSense revenue. This has finally changed: you will now get 100%.|
||Weebly offers a solid and easy-to-use online store with SSL encryption and multiple payment options. Detailed information in our Weebly Online Store review.|
|Search Engine Optimization (SEO)||
||Title, meta and description tags are all customizable at page level, as are your images' ALT text. URL text is always created from the respective menu item. The use of headlines (H1, H2 etc.) is limited.|
||Has all the standard features, e.g. comment moderation and trackbacks. Would be good to have the option to schedule blog posts for publication at a future date. Thanks to their mobile apps (iPhone and Android) you can even blog on the go.|
||Weebly has its own tracking tool, or you can use Google Analytics.|
|Contact form||yes||Use drag and drop to create detailed contact forms or surveys.|
|Password protection||yes||Available in the Pro plan. You can either protect the entire site or selected pages.|
|Newsletter tool||no||You can use an external newsletter system, such as Mailchimp or Aweber.|
|Add HTML code||yes||Allows you to add external widgets and other tools.|
|Storage space||Unlimited||Individually, your files cannot exceed 10 MB each on the free plan, or 250 MB each on the Pro plan. But other than that, the sky's the limit! No limits on bandwidth either. And you can even download your Weebly website and host it on your own web space.|
|Forum||yes||Direct integration with Tal.ki, which makes adding forums a piece of cake.|
|Support||yes||Email, knowledge base and live chat (look in the Help Center, to us it seems they are hardly available). Email support responded usually competently and quickly to our questions.|
||Weebly listens to their users and continuously improves the product. We also like their non-aggressive sales style.|
|One of the best website builders on the market. There's room for improvement in its store, but other than that Weebly hits the spot.|
At first glance, the Weebly website seems like nothing special. But take a closer look and you’ll discover an outstanding tool. It’s simple, uncluttered and easy to use, and that’s exactly what people with limited technical skills need when it comes to creating their own internet presence.
We think Weebly and Jimdo run neck and neck. Both tools serve the same market segment, and both are easy to use and work equally well. Jimdo gets bonus points for their integrated newsletter tool and the included email account(s), while Weebly’s strengths lie in its extremely flexible design options and integrated multimedia (for example, its video player).
Enough with theory: Try it out for yourself and see how you like it!
Weebly Example Sites
Alternatives to Weebly
FAQ about Weebly
Does Weebly provide email accounts?
They offer email accounts through Google Apps. This is a professional solution but it will set you back $45 per user (yearly). For many this won’t be ideal as it’s a bit pricey. A better approach would be to purchase your domain name through an external registrar (e.g. Namecheap or Godaddy), point it to Weebly and set up email there. Another alternative could be Jimdo or Webnode where a free email account is already part of the paid plans.
If I choose the Weebly Pro package now, can I later change to the Business plan?
Yes, that’s possible. All previous payments will be credited so won’t loose any money.
Should I purchase my domain name from Weebly? Or is it better to use a service like Go Daddy?
Domain names are not that cheap if you buy them through Weebly ($39.99 per year). With Go Daddy, for example, you can purchase a domain name for around $10-15 per year and it already includes one email account. Their Deluxe Email Package is around $50 per year and provides 5 email accounts.
Setting up a Go Daddy domain name for your Weebly website
This looks a bit complicated but at least for a brand new domain name it’s straightforward to set up. Please note that everything you change is at your own risk!
You need to go to your Zone File Editor and change the entries highlighted in red so that they have the same values like in the screenshot. Please note that it can a few hours for them to become active.
Is there a free trial for Weebly Starter, Pro or Business?
No, unfortunately not. But we have suggested this to our Weebly partner manager as we get this question a lot.
Why does my Weebly website have limited pages?
One reason for it can be that you have an Educational account. Furthermore, we heard that they are testing a new type of free account right now where the limit is 5 pages. If you got one of these new accounts you can try signing up again with a different email address – hopefully you’ll be more lucky and get an account with unlimited pages.
Can I really use the free version of Weebly and connect my existing domain name for free?
No, not anymore. You need at least a Starter plan to do that.
Does Weebly offer support in any other language than English?
No, currently they don’t.
I saw that I can also get Weebly through Bluehost or HostGator. Should I sign up with Weebly directly?
The advantage of signing up for Weebly through Bluehost or HostGator is that they provide a domain name and email accounts. But Bluehost’s offering is more expensive than signing up with Weebly directly. What’s important is that it may take longer to receive new feature updates and you won’t be able to use Weebly’s support. Weebly is available to all Bluehost customers, you can try it out here. Please note: when Bluehost refers to Weebly it does so by saying “Free Drag and Drop Site Builder”, HostGator calls it “Easy SiteBuilder”.
Which browser should I use for Weebly?
Generally, any of the major browsers will work. In our experience, it’s best to use either Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.
17 Feb 2014 - Google Apps integration for email accounts (see FAQ)
11 Feb 2014 - Addition to Languages (limited support of foreign character sets)
04 Jan 2014 - Weebly finally doesn’t take a 50% cut on Google AdSense ads anymore.
29 Nov 2013 – Added Weebly Online Store Review
28 Oct 2013 - Weebly Support offers now live chat.
09 Oct 2013 - Existing domain names cannot be connected to free Weebly sites anymore.
21 Jun 2013 – New video review of the updated editor
02 May 2013 - New editor design and a price increase: Starter is now $4 (before $3.29) and Pro $8 (before $6.63)
13 Mar 2013 - We’ve added information about password protection.
08 Feb 2013 - New pricing plans: Starter and Pro plan.
17 Dec 2012 - New features: site search, header slideshows, custom footer and more. Our review.
03 May 2012 - Quite a few additions: an iPhone app, the Button Element and more template flexibility
17 Jan 2012 - Video review and video page added
22 Nov 2011 - We checked Weebly’s server performance and it has done pretty well.
20 Jul 2011 - Review of Weebly’s mobile website
17 Mar 2011 - General update
12 Jan 2010 - General update – support not reviewed at this time.
Last updated: 4 Jun 2014 | Robert Brandl